Gear Planning and checking
There are several websites out there that can help you analyze how good your gear and talent spec is currently, and others are just too useful not to use to stay on top of your game. Below I am going to list a few of these sites, and basic guides on how to use them.
Basically, you create an account on this website, and use their quickguide to learn how to deal with their client software. Then, you go to your World of Warcraft game folder, in which you will find the Logs folder. Backup the Combatlog file (I believe it is combatlog.log) and delete the old file.
When you start up a raid, heroic or Doctor Boom test (more on that later) just type /combatlog and it will record a combat log for you in text format. Use the client to read this log, and it will give you a detailed information on what went on during combat. Who healed who, who dealt what amount of damage, how long did the fight last? All these questions and more can be answered. Many raiding guilds swear by this.
A simple site where you can select your character and realm, and it will give you a basic indicator as to what you can improve in your character. It analyzes gear, talents and enchants. Although it is a bit subjective, it also gives a nice graph showing you what level of raiding your are ready for. Very handy, and also used a lot for gear-checking new applicants in guilds.
Because Blizzard’s armory sometimes does not load, or is too slow. Nuff said.
Basically all you need to know on spell priorities, gear rankings, and extensive theorycrafting. If shadowpriests are the Word, this is the bible. Read the stickies, keep your tongue in check, and grow a thick skin.
Update: After being bought up and horribly mismanaged, Shadowpriest.com was abandoned by all sensible Shades. It was then bought up by howtopriest.com and used as a redirect to that site. Alas, all good things come to an end.
This site allows you to build your character from the ground up, or import it from the armory. You can get an immediate idea of what your changes do to your stats, as you add new gear/enchants or change talents. Although it is a tad on the slow side of town, it gets the job done quicker than most Excel sheets.
Another “armory lookalike”, wow-heroes gives a good overview of your gear, achievements and what you are ready for in terms of content. It also allows you compare yourself to other characters, and your ranking on your server.